It is often a mystery why a brand chooses to start producing flankers. For the mass-market ones that I understand. That’s commercialism. I am more intrigued when an independent brand chooses to do it. I’ve hypothesized it is an opportunity to re-interpret a divisive ingredient or accord from the original. Like taking a second swing at the piñata. The creative director of By Kilian, Kilian Hennessy has seemingly been trying to find new ways to display the unique central accord in one of his first releases, By Kilian Love: Don’t Be Shy Extreme is the third try.
Love: Don’t Be Shy was part of the original set of releases in 2007. From a purely conceptual perspective it was also probably the most realized. Working with perfumer Calice Becker they created one of the first gourmands to push into new territory. Their focal point was to create a marshmallow accord as the keynote. This wasn’t just the sugary sweet puff. It was also the rose water laced syrup to go with it. That accord was a love it/hate it kind of experience. I was in the former category. Those in the latter found it too sweet and reminiscent of bubble gum in an unpleasant way. It was always a fun experiment to be with sniff groups at the Boston Saks and watch to see a first impression to it.
In the last couple of years there were two attempts at flankers. All done by Mme Becker. One was Love: Don’t Be Shy Eau Fraiche which chose to make the entire thing more transparent. That left me wanting more. A more successful rendition was Love: Don’t Be Shy Rose and Oud. I still experience it as a mash-up of the original Love and another Kilian, Rose Oud. What I want to comment on is the rose in that gave the marshmallow accord a more sophisticated style. Love: Don’t Be Shy Extreme seems to be driving down the middle between both previous flankers.
Extreme begins with the marshmallow water accord and neroli together. This is part of the way the original began, too. A rich jammy Bulgarian rose comes next. Just as I experienced in the Rose and Oud flanker the rose transforms the marshmallow accord. That accord has a rose water component. When this opulent rose shows up it supercharges that part of the confectionary accord. Instead of feeling childish it feels like the choice of an iconoclast. The marshmallow gets sweeter as time goes by, but the rose stands right next to it all the way to the end.
Love: Don’t Be Shy Extreme has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
It will always be hard for any flanker to seem better to me than the original. I think it is one of the great perfumes in the entire collection. What I like about Extreme is it chooses to ask the marshmallow accord to find a little more maturity. Not enough that the echoes of the childish giggle aren’t still noticeable. Just enough to allow you to wear it and walk to your own beat.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample supplied by By Kilian.